CALDWELL — It’s been a decade since planners unveiled the ambitious idea to uncover and restore Indian Creek. This weekend, thousands will flock to the creek bank and a rapidly revitalized downtown district for the 10th annual Caldwell Indian Creek Festival.
The two-day street party, which started humbly from a single parking lot and is now a multiple-block celebration, continues to grow. It now spans from 6th to Kimball avenues and from Main to Blaine streets and features a host of family-fun activities, live music and dance, food, crafts, informational vendors and a huge Car Show & Shine.
“One of the things we want people to realize is our downtown is coming back,” City of Caldwell economic development official Ken Wien said. “We have several new businesses that have been successful and the creek is a large part of making that success.
“The festival started out to be kind of a public festival, announcing the planning of the creek redevelopment project and the creation of this wonderful water venue for downtown, but now it has progressed in its 10th year to become a community tradition just like the Winter Wonderland event during the holidays,” Wien said.
“The creek is absolutely gorgeous in the summer with people walking, fishing, kayaking and even swimming,” Wien added. “It has become a real focal point for downtown. Unfortunately, many people still haven’t discovered it.”
For the third year in a row, Indian Creek Festival kicks off Friday with the Downtown Caldwell Cruise and music by JessAnn and the Lightning River Band. The activities start at 6 p.m. and run until 11 p.m.
Saturday is packed with traditional festival favorites and several new attractions.
A festival favorite is Saturday morning’s breakfast, sponsored by the Caldwell Fire Department and a fire prevention and safety group. The breakfast features hot cakes, eggs, sausage, hash browns and more. Proceeds are used to promote fire prevention education programs for youth.
Runners and walkers converge downtown for the 5K and 10K Indian Creek Run and 5K Walk. The race, sponsored by the Caldwell Kiwanis Club, starts at 6th and Main, near the site of a new downtown streetscape project now underway.
More than 150 custom and vintage cars, hot rods, trucks and low riders take to the streets throughout downtown for the Car Show & Shine.
New this year is creek volleyball. Instead of beach volleyball, the net will be strung across the creek with college and high school age teams battling for bragging rights in the fun competition. The popular tug of war also returns.
One of the festival’s crowd favorites is the Cardboard Kayak Race. More than 20 competitors representing businesses, civic organizations, The College of Idaho and individuals take to the creek in their creative cardboard kayaks. Participants must assemble their kayaks using only cardboard, duct tape and paint.
At 3 p.m., festival-goers can root on their favorite feathered friend in the Rubber Duck Race. This fundraiser for the Caldwell High School band program will award cash prizes to the owners of the winning ducks. Tickets will be on sale at the festival.
Live music and dance is planned throughout the day on Saturday in multiple locations. A main stage will be at Kimball and Arthur where bands and several dance troupes will perform. Wein said festival organizers are also taking the music to the streets at several locations.
“People are really active and moving around, so we’re going to move the entertainment,” Wein said.
Another new attraction is an agricultural equipment display at Main Street, 6th and 7th. There will also be a display of classic military vehicles from World War II and the Korean War.
The Caldwell Depot will be open, with a scale model railroad display and the interpretive center. There will also be artist exhibits, clowns, face painting, balloon art, the Boy Scout rope bridge and a large festival Farmers Market.